Links are a huge part of search engine optimization (SEO). In fact, having enough inbound, outbound, and internal hyperlinks are the foundation of most SEO strategies. However, there are some aspects of hyperlinks that you can ignore. By understanding what aspects of a hyperlink are not important for SEO, you can focus your energy on the essential elements instead.
Some SEO Link Definitions
Before we get started, it's important to know the "SEO jargon":
Hyperlink: A link from some text or an image that takes you to another location when you click on it.
Anchor text: The highlighted (usually in blue with an underline) words that are used to indicate a hyperlink.
Inbound link: A link that redirects a person from a website to your website.
Outbound link: Also called an external link. When you insert a link into your website that takes visitors to another website.
Internal link: When a link on your website redirects a visitor to another page on your website.
Why Links Matter for SEO
All these types of links help to improve your site's SEO. The more links you have pointing to your website (or different portions of your website), the more your website is "verified" for search engine crawlers that rank your site. Search engine crawlers, like Google's, take several links to or on your site to mean that your website is an authoritative source.
Out of all the types of hyperlinks, inbound links are the most important for SEO. The process of collecting inbound links to improve the scoring of your website is called linkbuilding. It's like having friends and strangers verify that your website is an excellent place to visit for quality content.
What Aspects of a Hyperlink are Not Important for SEO
In a desperate attempt to acquire plenty of links and improve your SEO, you might make mistakes that can hurt your website. So, what aspects of a hyperlink are not important for SEO? Essentially, anything that isn't for the benefit of the visitor experience.
Artificial Inbound Links
You want inbound links from authoritative sources. There are plenty of black-hat SEO tricks to get artificial inbound links from non-reputable websites such as blogs and social media accounts. Eventually, Google will figure out what you've done and will negatively rank your website's scoring. Make an effort to get inbound links from high-quality sites that only help to verify your content.
Adding NoFollow to all Outbound Links
Most websites will have some outbound links. These links are meant to take a visitor to other high-quality sites that may be useful to them. However, many website owners are concerned that when they insert an outbound link, they give their Google PageRank scoring to that website.
One way to get around this is by inserting a rel=nofollow attribute to links, which essentially tells Google's PageRank not to follow the outbound link.
This tactic is okay to do occasionally and especially on your most important pages. But, doing it too much looks unnatural and is considered "hoarding PageRank." Like many things in life, SEO is about balance, so don't overdo the NoFollow strategy.
Good Quality External Links
Adding external links to your website is beneficial to your audience. However, you should keep in mind which sites you're linking to. High-quality sites tend to link to other high-quality websites. Google recognizes this behavior and marks these websites as authoritative sources. When you link to poor-quality websites, you could be grouping yourself with that type of site. Focus on external links to reputable sites, even if that means there are fewer external links on your website overall.
Ideally, you will accumulate a decent size of inbound, outbound, and internal links. Concentrate on collecting this slowly, as useful quality links. Your efforts to stay focused on high-quality links will help your overall SEO efforts.
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